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On Becoming a Fan

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Leadership

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Something that benefits me greatly in leadership is learning to be someone else’s fan. By definition, I’m talking about being their greatest cheerleader and being the source of wind in their sails.

Look at it this way, when others know you are FOR them they will:

Give More than they thought they could give.

Reach Farther than they thought they could reach.

Dig Deeper than they thought they could dig.

It’s inherent to the way we are wired. When people believe in us, we are provoked to do more than what’s possible on our own.

If this is true, what stops us from doing this for those around us?

In all honesty, I think fear is what holds us back.

Fear holds us back from cheering others on. Click To Tweet

“What if they accomplish more than me? Better than me? Discover greater success or reward than me?”

I confess. These are thoughts that have raced through my mind before.

Whether I am leading up, down or shoulder-to-shoulder, one of the best leadership attributes I’ve adopted is the ability to be someone else’s biggest fan. But it only happens when I take my eyes off of me long enough to see what God is doing in & through those around me.

Here are some things I do that help me maintain this leadership attribute:

Take Interest
That seems obvious. But seriously. I remind myself on a regular basis that I need to have an expressed interest in what others are doing beyond the shared tasks or projects that bring us together. When I explore and learn more about what’s happening in their ministry it helps me to know how I can partner with them more effectively.

Learning what's happening in another leader's ministry helps me know how I can partner w/ them. Click To Tweet

Take Note
This is a big help to me. When another ministry leader has something going on… maybe it’s a big event they are leading or something they are pretty excited about… I take note. Literally. I make a note on an app on my phone. These notes are set up as notifications that will pop up at a later time. Not only am I prompted to pray for that leader but I’m reminded of an opportunity to send a text, email or quick call to let them know I’m cheering them on.

Take Initiative
I’m a better team member when I take initiative to help other leaders win. Sometimes that means I set aside some of my own ‘front burner’ needs to make room for theirs. I confess that I don’t do this as well as others on my team. There are others around me that do this so much better. And I’m personally challenged every time I witness it. They have this pure desire to help others be successful. And the benefit is the emotional investment that buys them the returned favor later on.

I'm a better team member when I take initiative to help other leaders win. Click To Tweet

The thing about these steps is we could continue to lead with a measure of success and never take any of them. We can even justify our actions.

I mean, if I’m hired to do a job… then if I do that job and do it well… then isn’t that enough?

The truth is… no. It’s not enough.

I wasn’t hired to do a job… to lead one area of ministry… and ignore the rest. I was invited to join a mission.

The mission to reach the unchurched starting with the surrounding counties of Knoxville, TN. 

I was hired to move this mission forward by creating environments that connect kids to Christ. But my influence and focus don’t stop here… they start here.

Becoming a champion of the vision of your church should be reflected in your actions. Becoming a champion of other leaders that are pursuing that vision too should be evident in your relationships.

Who are you cheering for today?

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5 Things that Improve my Leadership

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Leadership

black-and-white-city-man-personI think one of the easiest things to do in life is to coast. In fact, there are many days in my life where coasting is my preference. I confess that I can be inherently lazy.

Why stretch myself if I don’t have to?

Yet the competitive spirit in me simply won’t let me settle. One day I’ll end this race. I want to end it well. So, when coasting seems like the preferred past time, I have to ask myself some hard questions. Typically my trend toward coasting is because I’m avoiding something difficult. Something that will stretch me.

Those are hard looks in the mirror. But critical looks if my desire is to grow.

I’ve led in and out of a variety of seasons in ministry over the past 15 years. I’ve learned a few things about myself that I’ve had to work hard to refine. In the past 12 months, here are 5 things I’ve taken a deeper look at in my life and what I can do to make them better:

  1. I’m a classic ENFP. I am typically a great starter but poor finisher. I get so excited on the front end of a project, but I reach a point where the project is as complete as I’m willing to make it. I have to hand it off. Tinkering is not my gift.
  2. I’m a creative with highly undisciplined rhythms. I read the term “procrastiworking” once and fell in love. It’s so true. I tend to stiff-arm structure. I have the tendency to think structure will restrict the freedom to create.
  3. I assume too much. I think others see what I see and know what I know therefore they arrive at the same conclusion to which I arrive. No sense in me repeating what’s already running through their mind.
  4. I under-communicate. I leave too much room for others to interpret my intentions. Most of the time I devalue my input in a situation. I figure enough people are speaking into it and that person (or group) doesn’t need to hear from me. Not too dissimilar to problem #4, I assume my voice holds less value than it does. I leave room for others to interpret my intentions. I devalue my input in a situation. Click To Tweet
  5. I’m a hungry learner. Though a really good trait, I can consume more information than I can apply. Much of the time my intake far exceeds my output. If not filtered well, I can overwhelm myself with all that I want to begin, revamp or toss out.

You may not identify with all of these, but likely one or two resonate. There are a few things I’ve learned (and re-learned and re-learned and re-learned) that help avoid the pitfalls that come with these tendencies.

  1. Learn to Finish! There are times when I need to swing through to ensure a project has reached the point of completion. No matter how painful it might be. But surprisingly those projects are few and far between. My role as a leader is far less in the minutia. And that’s good considering that is not where I add the greatest value. There are people around me who’s minds work in the details brilliantly. I don’t need to muddy those waters. However, in the rare times that I do, I can’t afford to slough off the responsibility with the all-to-easy response, “It’s just not my strength.” Sometimes we just have to put our heads down and power through. The satisfaction on the other side is worth it. At times we have to put our heads down & power through. The satisfaction on the other side is… Click To Tweet
  2. Structure Works! The hardest lesson for me to learn is to value structure. I can’t depend on inspiration to dictate creative flow. Structure actually creates greater opportunity for creativity. Assigning myself writing time, building time into my calendar to tackle big projects and creating space where I plan to be creative seems counter-intuitive. But I simply cannot deny structure creates the framework for creative production. Structure creates the framework for creative production. Click To Tweet
  3. Stop Assuming! My dad taught me the definition of assume a long time ago. 😉 I have to watch for moments where I assume more than I should. Doing so has helped me clarify more so my actions are based upon facts not incomplete information. This alone has made a huge difference in my leadership.
  4. Communicate More! There is no such thing as over-communicating. That’s an oxymoron. Much like assuming, the moments I’m most proud of are the times I choose to check in more frequently, text when it’s on my mind or make a follow up phone call just to make sure we’re all on the same page. For someone who could never be accused of micro-managing… this makes me better. Over-communicating is an oxymoron. Click To Tweet
  5. Pace is Everything! My tendency to consume paired with a high-sense of urgency can create an unhealthy drive that isn’t sustainable. Not only will I struggle to keep up, but it provokes me to run further ahead than anyone can follow. I end up leaving my team far behind and yet wonder why no one is keeping pace. It’s critical that I learn to manage my seasons well and give myself permission to NOT apply everything I’m learning right now. In fact, I’m better when I prioritize and focus on fewer changes over longer periods of time. The result is sustainable shifts hard-wired in that don’t fly off the moment your ministry picks up the pace.

Time has played a major factor in learning these things about myself. The knowledge of them has been around for a long time. But the willingness and tools needed to address them hasn’t always been there. That comes over time.

What are some pitfalls you encounter in your leadership? What have you done to mitigate their impact?

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